Report from the President

The sun is lighting up the wintry sky as I prepare this last column as president.

And, like the sun, I’m lighting up thinking of the future we envisaged three years ago, the projects we initiated and the journey we have travelled together.

When I was invited to take on this presidency, I had only a vague idea of how it would pan out, and doubted I had much to offer. Yet the ideas came, developed and quickly took flight, transforming into real initiatives in a seemingly magical way. Of course it’s not magic – it just looks that way. Behind the magic is our committee, a team of highly skilled, committed individuals who brainstorm ideas, knock them into shape and work hard to make those ideas happen. And that’s how Editors Victoria has served its members for almost 47 years.

The past three years have been filled with change, as we transitioned to a branch of a national body. Our focus shifted from working through the potential ramifications of the new rules and systems, outlined in lengthy papers, to instigating a campaign to encourage the maximum number of members to be involved in the decision by voting. All the while, we were passing on our best systems, templates and people to help the fledgling body take flight.

Yet we are keenly aware that our heritage is much bigger than a branch of a national association. We are an integral part of the world’s second City of Literature, and we have worked to strengthen our connections within our city’s writing culture, from partnering with organisations such as Melbourne Writers Festival and Writers Victoria to establishing the Wheeler Centre as our committee meeting venue.

We have celebrated, too, with sparkling and stimulating events such as our dinner and freelance meetings. We have grown, with our weekend residential program Redact held again in 2015, as well as our ongoing calendar of training every year.

You’ve responded enthusiastically to our new and improved avenues of communication – this newsletter with its substantial and timely content, our social media presence with feeds on several platforms, our website with continued improvements, as well as articles published in writer-focused media. And many of you enjoy networking with editors around Australia through the informal, but member-only, Secret Editors' Business Facebook group.

Our financial management has continued to be exemplary and our membership services continue to set the national standard. We’ve been the most successful state in the country in terms of accreditations and mentoring.

It’s been three years of accomplishments, by no means without skirmishes, and it’s only happened because of the loyalty and commitment of our committee and our staff.

Our executive committee met last week for our final meeting before this month’s AGM. As we were whipping through our usual packed agenda, our IPEd Councillor, Renée Otmar, outlined the IPEd draft strategy – it was exciting to share her enthusiasm for the big picture vision we have been waiting for. Renée will expand on this at the AGM – do come so you can get the lowdown.

Sadly, Charles Houen wasn’t with us at the meeting, as his wife, Helen, passed away last month. Our hearts go out to Charles.

Make sure you don’t miss out on booking for the branch AGM on 17 August. It’s always exciting to hear all what’s been happening in each portfolio and see who is joining the committee to make things happen. This is also your opportunity to be the change you want to see – do volunteer and you’ll not only make a difference, but you’ll have fun and learn heaps. This year, too, we’re appeasing those of you who still miss the Christmas trivia by interspersing some sections of trivia with the evening’s business. As usual, there is no charge for members – come and enjoy delicious fare with the most convivial group in town.

If you’d like more info, do contact Nicole, our friendly admin officer, or any of us on the committee, for nominations or details about where you can help.

Be well. Do good work.

Jackey Coyle